Friday, 23 April 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor


Dir: Niels Arden Oplev (To verdener / Worlds Apart, Drømmen / We Shall Overcome)
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Sven-Bertil Taube
Sweden/Denmark/Germany/Norway, 2010

Seen: April 17, 2010

Reason to see: Trailer looked astonishing + the film trilogy has had huge success already

Going in to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo / Män som hatar kvinnor, I knew it would be a harsh film just from reading reviews about people mentioning harsh content when they never do. Then I noted the literal translation of the title is Men Who Hate Women. That gives you more of a true sense of the film, but even so I didn't think it would be as harsh as it is. The hardest thing about it though, is the fact that the film is also brilliant. Often when things are very disturbing, they can also be easily dismissed as bad movies but this isn't, it's an excellent by each and every measure I can think of.

The film threads together a mystery story line that intersects with parallel journeys of two protagonists. The English title role is Lisabeth Sander, a hacker/rogue researcher played in a tour de force performance by Noomi Rapace. We're talking Oscar worthy performance here, not only in execution but also in terms of dealing with extreme situations. Our second protagonist is the fallen from grace investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, played sensitively by Michael Nyqvist. Both of these characters are compelling and very human, and each is played very well and the actors reach amazing depths. The film has many depths, not only in character but also in story. The mystery is weaved throughout lengthy 2 1/2 hour running time at a remarkable brilliant pace, I hardly looked at the time at all while watching up just stared and stared at the screen letting the film unfold like a disturbingly beautiful flower.

The challenge with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that it's a hard film to recommend. It's so harsh that I'm not sure I even want to be responsible for someone ending up seeing it, even though it's an excellent film, likely one of the best of the year. I don't regret seeing it, but if you are going to take the venture I'd advise to keep in mind that it have a central theme of victims & victimization along with a lot of deal breakers: extreme violence, sexual violence, torture, disturbing imagery, content & ideas. These are all contextual and never excessive or gratuitous, but are disturbing nonetheless.

The film is adaptation of the first in a book trilogy (followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest) all by the late Stieg Larsson. All three films in the trilogy have been made, and English film re-make for the first in the trilogy is set for 2012. I imagine the English remake will be severely toned down.

See also: Stieg Larsson's Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (DVD Review)

Warning: Extreme violence, sexual violence, torture, disturbing imagery & ideas

Shannon's Overall View:
I appreciated it as an excellent film
It'd be a challenge to re-watch
I'd recommend it to anyone who can make it through the film after considering the warnings

6 minutes of preshow including 7 commercials and 1 preview: The Trotsky

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010


Ryan McNeil said...

Reading this just made me feel a little bit less alone.

When I got home from my screening on Wednesday, I stared at a blinking cursor for twenty minutes before I got any words actually typed:

I knew what I has just seen was amazing, but I didn't have the first clue how to recommend it to anyone.

Great piece - think ypu''l have the courage to see the next two films in the series as they drop?

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Thanks Hatter, good to be in good company here. It's hard to recommend, even though it's amazing on so many levels.

I'll definitely be checking out the next part in the series. In most cases I'm able to distance myself from what I see if it's disturbing like this, although it makes it likely that it's not going to be a re-watcher.

Suzie Ridler said...

OK, this sounds like one there is no way I can handle. Good to know because I do keep hearing good things about it but "Men Who Hate Women"? Good grief! That makes me want to run away.

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Yep, it's extremely harsh. And it's too bad because I know you'd love the character of Lisbeth, Suzie - but the film is extremely harsh. Maybe when it's on video and you can skip stuff, but even then... I don't know. It's hard to say.

Suzie Ridler said...

That's too bad I would like her but the film is that hard. OK, I think that's a good idea, renting it later and then skipping the harsh parts. It's getting embarrassing just how often I have to do that now.

spidey_zombie said...

I just finished watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and was blown away by this movie. There are so many subtle things in this movie that make it such a Swedish movie.

The main character taking buses and walking up long drive ways to interview people. Swedes are very physical and don't feel the need to drive everywhere.

The movie was incredibly acted and these were not just characters they felt like real people, people we all have known.

There were a few disturbing scenes but as well some very empowering scenes and I like seeing characters use there brain in conjunction with brawn to take control of situations.

I will recommend this to all me friends who don't mind sub-titles and know the American version will be horrible as they will miss the subtleness of this version.

Great review Shannon

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Looks like the film will be released July 9, 2010:

Now - to read the book before, or right after... hmm...

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